Shining Force CD: The Evil God Awakes

The years 1994 and 1995 saw the respective Japanese and English releases of Shining Force CD for the Genesis’ compact disc addon, actually a compilation of the Shining Force Gaiden games for the portable Game Gear system, the second of which oddly saw an American release, its predecessor left untranslated, with the subtitle The Sword of Hajya. The second Book of the anthology has the title Shining Force CD: The Evil God Awakes, which provides an experience on par with the previous Book.

Book #2 is largely the same gameplay-wise as its precursor, although the endgame is somewhat less annoying, with a single battle marking its end rather than a pair of fights that can tax the player’s party. Even so, things such as a turn order gauge would have been welcome, with many boss units tending to have multiple turns close together. Still, there are some exploitable aspects of some battles such as the last the player can exploit, such as certain units remaining static, and thus promoted archers can snipe at them without fear of retaliation. All in all, the gameplay works well.

The second Book contains a linear structure like its predecessor, with simple direction on how to advance and a menu system that works aside from endless confirmations when shopping or preforming tasks such as reviving deceased allies.

The sequel Book focuses on a new Shining Force led by the enigmatic Deanna, with many characters from Book #1 occasionally showing up, although most characters are blank-slate, and the translation contains many errors that even a middle schooler could pick up, such as a common lack of commas between addressed characters and the dialogue which allies address to them.

Motoaki Takenouchi’s soundtrack is, as with before, one of the highlights, with plenty of sweeping orchestrated tracks, some taken from the first Gaiden and others original, although they still clash with the primitive Genesis-era sounds prevalent when performing tasks like saving or promoting characters.

The graphics are also unchanged, but still look nice, with a good attention to detail with things such as actual dodge animations for enemies and the player’s characters alike, although palette swaps of both allies and foes alike pop up on occasion.

The second Gaiden is a little longer than its predecessor, exactly twenty-four battles long, and is in the end a worthy continuation of its predecessor, with the same pros and cons. The third book, A New Challenge, unlocks after completion of the second, and a fourth Book is accessible thanks to a certain hidden item (hint: it’s in a well), with plenty lasting appeal regarding things such as multiple difficulty settings. While the second Book is enjoyable, those interested in the narrative will likely want to have played the first before moving on to its successor.

The Good:
+Same as Book #1.

The Bad:
-Same as Book #1.

The Bottom Line:
Another good scenario.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: Sega CD
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 7/10
Story: 6/10
Localization: 5/10
Music/Sound: 8/10
Graphics: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 9/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: 24 battles

Overall: 7.5/10

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